Sample Agreements
Artist and Gallery Agency Agreement

This sample agreement outlines what is needed when an Artist wishes to enter into a long term relationship with a Gallery where the Gallery acts as an agent.

Artwork Licensing Intellectual Property Toolkit for Indigenous Art Centres (Artists in the Black)

This Artwork Licensing Intellectual Property Toolkit has been developed specifically for Indigenous Art Centres and includes template policies and agreements which cover licensing, Intellectual Property and Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP). Each template within the pack will be available for individual purchase, and the complete pack will be available at a discounted price.

Collaboration Agreement: Visiting Artist (Artists in the Black)

This sample Collaboration Agreement –Visiting Artist should be used when an Indigenous community art centre invites an external non-Indigenous artist to the arts centre to work collaboratively with the art centre’s artists (Local artists) to create a body of work. 

Collaboration Agreement: Volunteer Agreement (Artists in the Black)

Volunteers play an important role in nearly every collaborative art project whether making films, organising festivals or putting on a major exhibition. A written agreement is important to ensure the volunteer understands his or her responsibilities and the policies and protocols that must be respected.

Copyright Licence for Collecting Institutions

This sample Copyright Licence for Collecting Institutions agreement should be used when a museum or other institution holding a collection of artefacts or artworks, including cinematographic or multimedia works or works of artistic craftsmanship or other copyright materials, wishes to make and publish a digital copy of a work for the purpose of facilitating public access to its collection.

Cultural and Intellectual Property Policy for Academic Research (Artists in the Black)

This sample Cultural and Intellectual Property Policy for Academic Research should be used by an Indigenous Art Centre as a best practice policy in relation to any research conducted by a individuals or institutions external to the community which seeks access to the Art Centre or its member artists, whether publically or privately funded and whether for commercial or non-profit purposes.

Cultural and Intellectual Property Policy for Festivals and Performances (Artists in the Black)

This sample Cultural and Intellectual Property Policy for Festivals and Performances should be used by an Indigenous Art Centre as a best practice policy in relation to all festivals or performances involving traditional forms of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander cultural traditional expression and knowledge which are hosted or staged by, or involve the Arts Centre. This policy includes a template procedure form that can be used when gaining the permission of cultural owners for particular cultural performances.

Cultural Tour Release (Artists in the Black)

Indigenous tourism operators or community art centres which conduct cultural tours for visitors should use this cultural tour release to minimise the risk of legal claims by participants who are injured or fall ill on the tour. 

Indigenous Artist and Art Centre Agreement (Artists in the Black)

This sample Indigenous Artist and Art Centre Agreement should be used when a non-profit Indigenous Art Centre operated for the benefit of Indigenous artists in its local community (such as a centre run by a Land Council or an Indigenous Corporation) represents Indigenous artists in connection with the sale of their artwork (Artwork) and the management of their intellectual property. 

Indigenous Artwork Reproduction License for Fabric (Artists in the Black)

This sample INDIGENOUS ARTWORK REPRODUCTION LICENCE (FABRIC) should be used when an artist who owns all rights and interests including copyright in an artwork (the Artwork) wants to grant a licensee an exclusive licence to reproduce the artwork in connection with the manufacture, importation, distribution, promotion, advertising and sale of printed fabric (the Fabric). The licence includes the right to adapt the Artwork into designs that can be printed as a repeating pattern onto Fabric under certain conditions (the Designs).

Indigenous Collaboration Agreement – Fashion and Furnishings (Artists in the Black)

This sample INDIGENOUS COLLABORATION AGREEMENT should be used when a designer in the fashion, textile or home furnishing industry, or a business that is involved in the production of articles for the fashion and furnishing industries  (the Designer) wishes to work together with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island visual artist/ or group of visual artists (the Artist) to create and produce clothing, textiles and/or furnishing items based on or incorporating or inspired by the artworks of that artist or artists.

Performer’s Release – Session Musician

This sample Session Musician’s Release (the Release) should be used when a musician is being hired by a third party to perform a musical work as part of a recorded music session.

Supplementary Copyright Agency Agreement Between Artist and Art Centre (Artists in the Black)

This sample Supplementary Copyright Agency Agreement Between Artist and Art Centre should be used when there is a current membership agreement between the art centre and its member artists (either written or unwritten) which doesn’t clearly give the art centre authority to act as the artist’s agent for copyright licensing purposes. It is intended to grant that authority in a supplementary agreement.

Info Sheets
Artwork Made Using Animal and Plant Material - Australia

Australia has strict laws that aim to protect plants and animals that are threatened, native, vulnerable or endangered. This is a particularly important issue for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island artists who often use native seeds, feathers, skins, bones, grasses and woods in their artwork. It can also affect non-Indigenous artists wanting to create artwork using plant and animal matter.

Artwork made using Animal and Plant Material - South Australia

For many artists, plant and animal material form a central part of the artworks that they create. This can raise unique legal issues, as certain plants and animals are subject to strict laws in Australia that change depending on which state you work in.

Artwork made using Animal and Plant Material - Victoria

For many artists, plant and animal material form a central part of the artworks that they create. This can raise unique legal issues, as certain plants and animals are subject to strict laws in Australia, differing depending on which state you work in.

Certificates of Authenticity (AITB)

The authenticity of an Aboriginal artwork is important not only for ethical and legal reasons but because it has significant value in the art market. The problem facing Aboriginal artists and communities is how to protect authentic artwork from rip offs made by non-Indigenous people.

Copyright Licensing for Art Centres & IP Licensing Toolkit

This information sheet explains how art centres can systematically manage copyright licensing requests for the use of artists’ work and describes the various sample agreements contained in the Art Centre Intellectual Property Licensing Toolkit. It can be used in conjunction with the suggested Copyright Licence Fee Schedules (only available in the IP Licensing Toolkit)

Cultural and Intellectual Property Policies

We have four Cultural and Intellectual Property Policies available to ensure you are following best practice policies when working with Indigenous art centres and artists.

Drama, Performance And Dance (AITB)

This fact sheet provides information on the nature of copyright in dramatic works, the rights of copyright owners, when to get permission from the copyright owner, exceptions to the need to get permission, duration of copyright and royalties.

Performers’ rights

Actors, circus performers, musicians, dancers and other live performers may have performers’ rights in their performances, read on to learn more about these rights.

Story Telling - Legal Issues (Artists in the Black Resource)

The art of oral story telling is a fluid art form, and legal issues including copyright, moral Rights and Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property can arise. Read on to learn more about protecting your rights in this form of story telling.

‘Authentic’ Aboriginal Art - ACCC v Australian Dreamtime Creations

On 21 December 2009 Justice Mansfield in the Federal Court found that Australian Dreamtime Creations Pty Ltd ('Dreamtime Creations') misled consumers by making misleading representations about artworks using Indigenous art styles. The Court held that Dreamtime Creations breached s.52 of the Trade Practices Act ('Act') which prohibits corporations from engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct.

AITB in Far North Queensland (FNQ)

In April 2012 Artists in the Black (AITB) commenced its work in FNQ when we attended the first conference of the Indigenous Art Centre Alliance (IACA) in Cairns. Here we were able to give the managers and representatives from the Boards of the Indigenous art centres an idea of the legal issues relevant to their work, as well as the services provided by AITB. IACA then assisted by consulting with the art centres to determine which art centres wanted AITB to visit them and the issues they wanted to find out more about.

Arts Law goes to Geneva and WIPO

WIPO members continue to debate a new treaty for the protection of Traditional Cultural Expressions. Arts Law’s Executive Director, Robyn Ayres, who participated in the 22nd meeting of WIPO’s Intergovernmental Committee on Traditional Cultural Expressions, reports here.

Arts Law’s Black Fashion Project

Arts Law has developed a suite of legal documents associated with ethical collaborative agreements between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and designers who wish to work and create together. Together, these agreements form part of Arts Law’s Black Fashion project and have been supported by funding from Arts Queensland.

Bush Band Business 2012

In 2012, Artists in the Black (AITB) was invited again by Music NT to participate in Bush Bands Business (BBBiz).  Held at the breathtaking Ross River Resort, Bush Bands Business is the professional development and mentoring program for the eight Indigenous bush bands chosen to perform at the Bash in Alice Springs during the annual Desert Festival.

Cameras in Public

On a warm November evening Arts Law played host to some forty artists (and a few lawyers) for the event Cameras In Public. With the tone set by a t-shirt with the slogan, "I'm a photographer not a criminal" the next two hours were filled with illuminating – and often very lively – discussion.

Code of Conduct for Indigenous Art

The NAVA Indigenous Art Commercial Code of Conduct (Code) will be a guide for the Indigenous art industry in its commercial practice and covers industry issues on the production and sale of Indigenous artwork.

Common conundrums

Arts Law deals with a diverse range of legal concerns across all art sectors.  Below are some frequently asked questions over the last year, answered by some of our volunteer lawyers who provided an incredible amount of support and help to Arts Law during 2005. 

Freehills Advises on The Aboriginal Planning Authority

In February 2009 the Arts Law Centre of Australia approached Freehills to provide legal advice, on a pro bono basis, concerning the application of certain provisions of Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority Act 1972 (WA) (Act) to Indigenous persons.

Indigenous Artist and Arts Centre Agreement

Arts Law’s sample Indigenous Artist and Art Centre Agreement is a great resource for Indigenous artists creating artworks at Indigenous art centres. In this article, Serena Armstrong looks at who might use the agreement and how to use it.

Indigenous Protocols

The Arts Law Centre receives a large number of enquiries from artists with concerns in dealing with Indigenous culture and art. As a result of the growing interest in, and the appropriation of, Indigenous art and culture, at least two sets of protocols have recently been developed in Australia.

Moral Rights and Indigenous Communities

The Commonwealth Government has recently said it will introduce a Copyright Amendment (Indigenous Communal Moral Rights) Bill (ICMR Bill). Currently, there is no legal protection afforded to Indigenous communities to prevent unauthorised and derogatory treatment of works and films that draw on traditional customs or beliefs. Samantha Joseph and Erin Mackay explain the proposed amendments and Arts Law's response.

Musicians in the Black Update

In Balgo in remote north Western Australia, a small group of musicians sit in the exhibition space of Warlayirti Artists Centre  discussing the bands they play in, how they make decisions and what they should call themselves. They like the sound of "The Lost Boys" but think there might be another band somewhere in Queensland using that name. Behind them is the new purpose built recording studio built at the art centre in recognition of the emerging Indigenous musical talent in a community better known for its visual artists – including Eubena Nampitjin, Elizabeth Nyumi, Boxer Milner and  Helicopter Tjungurrayi.

No will, no way

Arts Law celebrates the announcement by the Western Australian government of its commitment to amend its intestacy laws and launches its Artists in the Black intestacy kits for families of Indigenous visual artists.

Not Made in Australia Campaign

The past few months have been a busy and exciting time for Solid Arts, a project funded by the Cultural Ministers Council, which is focused around creating a suite of resources on Indigenous Intellectual Property. The project has two main aims: firstly, to make arts-specific legal information more accessible to Indigenous artists and secondly, to increase awareness about Indigenous Intellectual Property amongst the general community, and consumers and commercial operators of Indigenous art.  Stage Two of the project has seen the development and dissemination of a range of new materials directed at meeting these objectives. This project formally concluded in 2012 and has been merged with our Artists in the Black project.

Professor Sally Morgan: the importance of stories.

Sally Morgan is one of Australia's best-known Aboriginal artists and writers.Her first book My Place, published in 1987, is recognised as being a milestone in Indigenous writing. My Place has now sold over half million copies and has been widely published internationally.  In 2003 Arts Law was privileged to have Sally Morgan join our Council of Patrons. Blanch Lake caught up with Sally to talk about her work as an Indigenous writer.

Protecting the Sacred Wandjina: the Land and Environment Court goes to the Blue Mountains

In 2010, a gallery in the Blue Mountains in NSW erected a large sculpture featuring Wandjinas, the creation spirit sacred to the Worrora, Wunumbal and Ngarinyin Aboriginal tribes in Western Australia. Artists in the Black was contacted by both the people of the Katoomba area and Mowanjum Arts which represents artists from the three language groups who are the traditional custodians of the Wandjina law and sites of the Western Kimberley. The Dharug and Gundungurra Aboriginal people of the Blue Mountains area were mortified that this conduct was occurring on their traditional lands and felt embarrassed and responsible. All five groups were upset by the unauthorized and disrespectful appropriation of important cultural imagery. They contacted Artists in the Black.

Rock Art - Australia’s Threatened Heritage

Australia's rock art, which is one of the oldest known continuously practised art forms in the world, is at great risk of widespread destruction as a result of unconstrained industrial development.  These works, which consist of carved and painted depictions of Indigenous history and spirituality, have provided important clues regarding the development of art specifically and human evolution generally.  Because there is no single identifiable artist and the works date back thousands of years, far beyond the stipulated duration limits, rock art does not fit comfortably in the traditional frameworks of intellectual property law.

Sellers of Fake Indigenous Art Stopped

Amity discusses recent Federal Court orders in an ACCC action against Queensland art dealers who were selling works incorrectly labeled as ‘authentic' Aboriginal art and artefacts.

Slow Progress: Report from Geneva on WIPO IGC meeting 15-24 July 2013

In July 2013 Robyn Ayres, Arts Law’s Executive Director, was immersed in the international arena when she attended the 25th meeting of WIPO’s Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) which was focused on further developing the text of the draft instrument on better protection of Traditional Cultural Expressions (TCEs) as well as looking at the future work of the IGC as its two year mandate was coming to an end. Arts Law is engaged in the IGC process because so many of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients have to deal with the issue of lack of protection of their Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP) on a daily basis.

SOS – Saving The Keeping Place Collection

The only collection of traditional and contemporary Indigenous Australian art assembled and curated by an Indigenous artist is in danger of being torn apart and dismantled. Arts Law clients Gordon and Elaine Syron have spent a lifetime and much personal sacrifice collecting hundreds of works, often supporting young unknown artists who have later found artistic success. Their collection contains works by Clifford Possum, Emily Kngwarreye, Cecil Bowden, Bronwyn Bancroft, well as, of course, works by Gordon himself including his confrontational and iconic "Judgment by his peers".

Trade mark protection and ICIP: How does Australia fare?

Ros Stein explains and compares how trade mark laws in Canada, New Zealand and Australia can be used to protect and uphold the rights of Indigenous artists in relation to Indigenous Culture and Intellectual Property (ICIP).

WIPO’s capacity building tools for Indigenous cultural heritage

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is developing various capacity-building tools to guide indigenous communities as well as museums, archives and other cultural repositories in managing intellectual property (IP) issues when recording, digitising and disseminating intangible cultural heritage, especially 'traditional cultural expressions'. This article reports further on this ongoing work.

Case Studies
Albert Namatjira – copyright and a will

Albert Namatjira is one of Australia’s most well-known and celebrated Indigenous artists, however his family’s ability to have any legal influence over the ongoing cultural and economic management of his artworks after his death was compromised by the Public Trustee’s failure to appreciate the value and significance of copyright.

Ananguku Arts and Cultural Aboriginal Corporation: Infrastructure Upgrade Program - APY Lands

Ananguku Arts and Culture Aboriginal Corporation (Anaguku Arts) is an Aboriginal owned and governed organisation that assists the professional development of Indigenous artists. Ananguku Arts supports Aboriginal artmaking and cultural maintenance across South Australia, and helps build a dynamic arts industry in South Australia and across Australia. A particular focus is the support of Indigenous community art centres.

Bede Tungutalum and “Owl Man”

Senior Tiwi artist Bede Tungutalum is a painter, carver and printmaker and one of the founders of Tiwi Designs the well known Indigenous screen printing business based on Bathurst Island. In 2004, he approached Artists in the Black after seeing prints of his limited edition linocut work "Owl Man" for sale on the internet and through galleries in Australia.

Christine Tschuna - What to do if you don’t get paid – letters of demand

Christine Tschuna is an Wirangu artist with the Ceduna Arts and Cultural Centre. In June 2006 she signed a Licence Reproduction Agreement with a company with produces postcards and tourist memorabilia. After the company stopped returning her calls or emails Christine turned to Artists in the Black for assistance. Arts Law pro bono lawyer Robert Lempens of Camatta Lempens in Adelaide offered to help Christine.

Donny Woolagoodja

Worora man Donny Woolagoodja is a renowned artist whose giant Wandjina artwork featured at the opening ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. He asked Artists in the Black to help him prepare a document which would protect him from being held responsible if participants on his tours were injured and which would also enable him to restrict participants from photographing and publishing images of culturally sensitive sites.

Elcho Island Arts Centre – when is an export permit required to exhibit artwork overseas?

For over 18 years, the Elcho Island Arts Centre has been supporting and representing indigenous artists from the local Yolngu communities on Elcho Island, Northern Territory. Traditionally, the Yolngu artists of Elcho Island have always incorporated different fauna and flora species, such as plant fibers and feathers, into their artwork. The women of the Yolngu community are renowned for their weaving skillsand create works of art woven from the fibres of the pandanus plant (pandanus spiralus), which is a species of shrubs that grows on Elcho Island.

Ilbijerri Theatre Company – copyright ownership and contract

Ilbijerri Theatre Company in Victoria is the longest running Indigenous theatre company in Australia creating innovative contemporary works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. Ilbijerri asked Artists in the Black to help clarify these issues in a way which recognized and protected the contributions of the workshop participants but also made sure that Ilbijerri had all of the rights it needed to stage a successful production for the public.

Jilalga Murray-Ranui: Protecting your rights in a public work commission project

Jilalga Murray-Ranui is an Indigenous visual artist who is passionate about producing digital images, paintings, and smaller works of art inspired by the Pilbara landscape, people, animals and lifestyle

In July 2010, Jilalga was approached by Mungabareena Aboriginal Corporation (MAC) to create a large mural on a bridge.  The MAC and the Victorian Department of Transport had entered into an agreement in relation to the creation of a public art work and Jilalga had been retained by MAC to do this work. She was not a party to the agreement between MAC and the Victorian Department of Transport so she was concerned about how that agreement might affect her copyright and her moral rights. 

As an Indigenous artist, Jilalga receives a free subscription to Arts Law which she used to access Arts Law’s Document Review Service. Arts Law arranged for lawyers Jarod Benson and Jessica Karasinski of Minter Ellison to help Jilalga to understand the agreement.

 Jilalga says:

“For me the size of the contract and the wording was very daunting. Arts Law helped me understand it. And they helped me renegotiate parts where I felt uneasy or concerned. Another concern I had was distance between all parties. I lived in Perth, the Victorian Transport department was in Melbourne, Mungabareena was in Wodonga, and then Arts Law was in Sydney. I was worried for a little while about the distance - I felt like I was just one lone artist on the other side of Australia.  But it was reassuring that Arts Law made contact with some Perth lawyers to assist me. I felt good that I had local people on board to help me and that gave me a bit more confidence.”

Jilalga asked the Department of Transport and MAC to consider the amendments suggested by Jarod and Jessica. Those amendments were accepted and the contract was changed in a way that gave much greater protection to Jilalga.

The mural project was unveiled in February 2011. Jilalga reflects on the process:

“Arts Law gives you the confidence to have your say by talking with you, then talking to the other party and negotiating on your behalf if and when you need it. By working with Arts Law, I felt reassured that my rights were worthy, and that my rights deserved to be heard and respected.

I enjoyed the process, all people involved worked positively together. I was so happy about the work I produced for the community, especially the Koorie community. The project was a success for the community, for the organisations involved, and for myself as a practising artist.”

This story demonstrates that it is important for artists to be aware of their rights and to be vigilant with agreements dealing with copyright of an artist, especially when the artist is not a party to the agreement. Artists should consider their moral rights (such as making sure they are named as the artist of the work) and should not be afraid to negotiate to protect their rights.


Further resources you might find useful:

-  Arts Law’s information sheets: Contracts: an introduction

-  Arts Law’s sample agreements: Public art: design and commission agreement

Lawrence Omeenyo licenses his image for Arts Law’s Christmas card

Artist Lawrence Omeenyo is a painter, sculptor and elder of the Lockhart River Community. He works through the Lockhart River Arts Centre. After Arts Law had worked with the Lockhart River Art Centre drafting wills for their artists, Arts Law decided to approach the art centre to see if it was possible to license one of the artist's images for Arts Law's 2010 Christmas card.

Mandy Davis and her “Emu” painting

Artists in the Black client Mandy Davis, has received a settlement from a company for their infringement of her copyright and her moral rights. The case is a great example of how AITB works.

Mirvac: Licensing for Sydney CBD installation

In 2013, Artists in the Black was contacted by an Indigenous writer seeking assistance with a contract he had received from Mirvac for the use of his published works in Mirvac’s new development at 8 Chifley Square in Sydney.

Mondo Rondo Jewellery licenses Indigenous artworks

Mondo Rondo Jewellery designs and produces Australian jewellery for both the local and international market. Mondo Rondo approached Viscopy, as the organisation that is set up to represent the artists’ rights and manage copyright licensing. Viscopy assisted Mondo Rondo realise their ideas and vision for the Imprint Indigenous Collections.

Ninuku Arts - Selling works on consignment: chasing payment and negotiating a settlement

Ninuku Arts entered into a consignment agreement with an Adelaide gallery for the sale of 29 artworks by 19 of its artists. Ninuku Arts made many requests for payment for the 6 outstanding paintings, but no response was received. Artists in the Black turned to its long time supporters DLA Phillips Fox in Adelaide (now Fox Tucker Lawyers) for pro bono assistance.

Sarrita King and Resale Royalty Rights

Sarrita King is a contemporary Indigenous artist registered for the resale royalty scheme. The resale royalty scheme for visual artists is a new scheme, brought in by the federal government in June 2010.  Under the scheme, commercial resales of artworks must be reported and artists are entitled to a 5% royalty when their works are sold for at least $1000.

UMI Arts: Creating Fair Employment Agreements

UMI Arts is the peak Indigenous arts and cultural organisation for Far North Queensland. It is a not-for-profit company based in Cairns and managed by an all-Indigenous Board of Directors. In January 2012, it approached Artists in the Black (AITB) for support with reviewing its employment agreements.

Wandjina - Protecting Cultural Heritage through council planning laws

In 2010, a gallery in the Blue Mountains in NSW erected a large sculpture featuring Wandjinas, the creation spirit sacred to the Worrora, Wunumbal and Ngarinyin Aboriginal tribes in Western Australia. The Dharug and Gundungurra Aboriginal people of the Blue Mountains area were upset by the unauthorized and disrespectful appropriation of important cultural imagery.

Yiwarra Kuju: the Canning Stock Route

In late 2006, the Perth-based non-profit cultural organisation FORM initiated Ngurra Kuju Walyja – One Country, One People — The Canning Stock Route Project. The project began with modest aims to present an Aboriginal history of the Canning Stock Route through art and oral history and establish economic and professional development opportunities in remote communities. The project quickly grew to unexpected proportions. Within a year 110 Aboriginal artists and contributors were involved from 10 art and culture centres across 17 remote communities in the Goldfields, Pilbara and Kimberley, with a team of nine Aboriginal and five non-Aboriginal co-curators, multimedia crew and cultural advisors. The Canning Stock Route collection, which includes around 130 artworks, was defined by the curatorial team over two years and was acquired by the National Museum of Australia in December 2008.

News & Events
About Indigenous Cultural & Intellectual Property
20th August 2012

The Arts Law Centre is a leading advocate for Indigenous artists. Its Artists in the Black service engages in advocacy and casework and has resulted in widespread benefits within the Indigenous art community with the aim of promoting Australian Indigenous art and ensuring copyright and other rights are upheld. Arts Law has advocated for better protection of Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP) through its participation at WIPO conferences and ongoing submissions to the Federal government to enact legislative reform on this issue. Arts Law actively participated in the deliberations which lead to the introduction of The Indigenous Art Code recognising that Indigenous visual artists from remote and regional areas are often substantially disadvantaged in commercial negotiations. It has developed best practice standards for businesses and public bodies dealing with Indigenous artists which are promoted through its sample agreements, best practice document review service and educational workshops.

Read Arts Law’s Cultural policy submission

Read Indigenous Intellectual Property Information Sheet

Read The World Intellectual Property Organisation

About Wills & Estates
11th August 2012

For many artists, their intellectual property in their artistic and creative output is one of the most valuable and enduring assets in their estate. If they pass away intestate, this asset is often neglected or not understand, which can lead not only to a failure to protect the artist’s artistic  legacy, but to unchecked copyright infringements and a loss of value to the artist’s family. This is particularly true for Australia’s Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander artists living in remote and regional areas. Arts Law has delivered educational wills workshops throughout Indigenous communities in all states helping artists to make wills and, through its casework service, assisted many Indigenous families to manage intestate estates. It has campaigned tirelessly for amendment to the discriminatory Western Australian legislation which takes the right to manage the estate of a deceased Aboriginal person away from family and vests it in the Public Trustee. Arts Law also advocates for improved education about the importance of wills and how to draft a will, especially among Indigenous artists and artists from minority or disadvantaged backgrounds.

AITB on the Road: Alice Springs Trip
23rd June 2015

In April 2015, Arts Law’s Deputy Director, Delwyn Everard, and I travelled to Central Australia to engage with local independent Indigenous artists in the Alice Springs area. 

Artists in the Black visits the Mid North Coast
16th June 2015

Arts Law, in collaboration with Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance is offering FREE legal advice workshops to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Artists on the mid north coast this June.

Arts Law and Kino!
31st March 2016

We presented a short seminar in March for filmmakers at Kino Sydney's #104 Open Screen Film Night - it was a hoot!

Arts Law lobbies for mandatory Art Code
26th February 2013

Arts Law is a passionate supporter of the Indigenous Australian Art Code of Commercial Conduct (Art Code) which was introduced in 2010. Today, Arts Law showed its continued support of the Art Code by lobbying the Federal Government to make the Art Code mandatory.

Arts Law speaks out against discriminatory law in WA
21st March 2012

Executive director Robyn Ayres is quoted today in the Australian newspaper's article calling for the Western Australian government to repeal laws discriminating against Aboriginal people who die without making a will.

Arts Law submission to Productivity Commission Draft Report - 3 June 2016
6th June 2016

Arts law is particularly concerned by some of the proposals in the draft report. The undervaluation of artists' contributions and the lack of consideration of Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property issues, the suggestion that the optimal copyright term is 15 to 25 years after creation, the proposal to remove parallel import restrictions for books and the fair use provisions proposed in the draft report. You can read our full submission here.

Bush Band Business
6th September 2011

In conjunction with Music NT and Alice Desert Festival, National arts grant fund The Seed is proud to support the 2011 Bush Bands Business.

Bush Bands Business is a series of workshops for Indigenous musicians and technicians who are preparing for the Bush Bands Bash concert, a major live performance event held at the annual Alice Springs Desert Festival.

Chanel Should Apologise for ‘Boomerang’
19th May 2017

The Arts Law Centre of Australia and the Indigenous Art Code contacted Chanel to request an apology to Indigenous communities over their ‘boomerang’ product that was recently circulating on social media.

Fake Aboriginal souvenirs
19th August 2010

ABC's 7.30 Report recently reported on the impact that fake-Aboriginal craft imports are having on the Aboriginal arts industry.

Fake Art Harms Culture Campaign - Launched at Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair 2016
5th August 2016

The Arts Law Centre of Australia, the Indigenous Art Code and Copyright Agency | Viscopy are at the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair calling for the Government to tackle the problem of fake ‘Indigenous’ arts and craft being sold in Australia, harming Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and incomes.

Fake Art Harms Culture: Arts Law’s Submission to the House of Representatives Inquiry
13th November 2017

The Arts Law Centre of Australia (Arts Law) welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the discussion on the growing presence of inauthentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ‘style’ art and craft products and merchandise for sale across Australia. In essence, our submission is that a prohibition on the sale of inauthentic products at all levels of the supply chain is the easiest and most efficient approach to address the problem.

FREE Brunch and Workshops to launch new resources for Art Centres
28th August 2013

Are you going to Desart Mob this year?

If so please make time to attend Arts Law’s FREE brunch and workshop sessions on Sunday the 8th of September, starting at 10am. We will be discussing two new resources developed specifically for art centres  at Witchetty’s, Araluen Arts Centre, Larapinta Drive, Alice Springs.

Freehills Advises on The Aboriginal Planning Authority
31st March 2010

In February 2009 the Arts Law Centre of Australia approached Freehills to provide legal advice, on a pro bono basis, concerning the application of certain provisions of Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority Act 1972 (WA) (Act) to Indigenous persons.

Launch of new Pro Bono Service, National Indigenous Art Registration Service
29th November 2013

Earlier this week Arts Law and Gadens launched a new Pro Bono program, the National Indigenous Art Registration Service. This service will assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists in ensuring that their artworks are correctly registered under the Personal Property and Security Register.

Media Release: A Step Forward to Stop the Fakes
13th February 2017

The Arts Law Centre of Australia, the Indigenous Art Code and Copyright Agency | Viscopy welcomed the proposed introduction of legislation to end the practice of the production and sale of art products and merchandise which misappropriates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Culture.The Arts Law Centre of Australia, the Indigenous Art Code and Copyright Agency | Viscopy today welcomed the proposed introduction of legislation to end the practice of the production and sale of art products and merchandise which misappropriates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Culture.

National Human Rights Action Plan
2nd September 2011

The Federal Government is developing a National Human Rights Action Plan to outline future action for the promotion and protection of human rights. Part of this Action Plan was the Baseline Study survey on the experience and protection of human rights in Australia. Arts Law contributed a submission identifying issues relevant to the arts.

National Cultural Policy
5th May 2010

Arts Law submission to The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP, Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts about the National Cultural Policy.

National Cultural Policy
3rd April 2012

Federal, State and Territory Arts and Cultural Ministers met in Melbourne last week to discuss the development of the National Cultural Policy.

New Tasmanian Aboriginal heritage laws drafted
5th November 2012

On 2 November 2012 Tasmanian Environment, Parks and Heritage Minister Brian Wightman released the exposure draft of the Aboriginal Heritage Protection Bill 2012 for public comment.

Resale royalty scheme reaches $1million for artists
8th November 2012

The Arts Law Centre of Australia is pleased to announce that over $1 million in royalties has been returned to Australian artists thanks to the Australian Government’s resale royalty scheme, administered by Copyright Agency.

6th June 2006

Arts Law has been active in campaigning and made a submission in relation to the Government’s sedition laws, considered likely to have a chilling effect on artists across all art forms.

System Upgrade
5th April 2012

Dear Arts Law Supporters,

We are currently doing a system upgrade. As a result, over the next couple of weeks our ability to answer your query as quickly as usual will be affected. We endeavour to get back to our usual response time as soon as we can. Your patience during this period will be greatly appreciated.

Torres Strait Workshops for Artists
9th July 2013

Two days of workshops and talks where artists can discuss and learn more about the legal issues surrounding their artforms with Arts Law's Delwyn Everard and Donna Carstens

Dates: 23rd of July 9am - 3pm & 24th of July 10.30am - 12pm

Venue: Torres Strait Regional Authority, Torres Haus, 46 Victoria Parade

WA Government repeals unfair intestacy laws
16th November 2012

An advocacy victory for Arts Law and Aboriginal people in WA was achieved on 8 November 2012 with both Houses of Parliament passing a Bill to repeal unfair intestacy laws.

Wandjina controversy
29th June 2010

ABC Radio National's Law Report recently produced a story about a controversy unfolding around a sculpture in the Blue Mountains.

Wandjina Sculpture
15th August 2011

The controversial Katoomba stone sculpture depicting Wanjina has been vandalised.

Other Organisations
Aboriginal Art Association of Australia

The Aboriginal Art Association of Australia (AAAA) serves and represents individuals and organisations who produce, promote, protect or support Indigenous art and the culture that allows it to flourish.

Aboriginal Artists Agency Limited

The Aboriginal Artists Agency is a non-for profit organisation that operates a service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists to create income from the reproduction of works of art. It arranges copyright clearance and licences for individuals wishing to use images of Indigenous artworks.

A list of artists under licence may be obtained by emailing: [email protected]

Australian Music Radio Airplay Project (Amrap)

Amrap is a community radio initiative to get national airplay of Australian music. It offers services for signed and unsigned Australian artists, record labels and all community radio stations. It also offers Airit, an initiative for unsigned Indigenous musicians.

Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA)

CAAMA was founded in 1980 to expose Aboriginal music and culture to the rest of Australia from its Alice Springs media centre. CAAMA plays a major role in the maintenance of Indigenous languages and culture by the use of radio and television.

Consumer Credit Legal Centre (NSW)

CCLC-NSW is an Australian organisation for growing and developing businesses. The organisation works hand in hand with local administration to help Australian businesses prosper.

Dream Shield by IP Australia

IP Australia’s new resource, the Dream Shield project, features intellectual property (IP) success stories and tips for Indigenous inventors, designers and business owners. The Dream Shield project shows real examples of how to protect and grow your IP.

Indigenous Art Code

Indigenous Art Code Limited is a public company established by the Australian Government to administer the Indigenous Art Commercial Code of Conduct (IACCC).

Terri Janke and Company

Terri Janke is a leading international authority on Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property. Terri Janke and Company's website links to useful publications.

UMI Arts

UMI Arts is the peak Indigenous arts and cultural organisation for Far North Queensland. Its mission is to operate an Indigenous organisation that assists Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to participate in the maintenance, preservation and protection of cultural identity.

WIPO’s Traditional Knowledge section

WIPO has a Traditional Knowledge section which has been working on a range of Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property Programs including: